Still we rise

Still we rise

The words and sentiment of Maya Angelou ring true with defiance, courage and strength.

The essence and the heart of the wellness industry is the ultimate antithesis to terrorism. The events we’re witnessing could not be farther from the combined intention of both wellness and tourism – a force for good.

The atrocities of recent weeks are being dealt with, suffered through and built upon, shakily for sure but built upon no less.  The human capacity for resolve, for strength and for bravery in the face of such devastation, knows no bounds and with the ten year anniversary of 7/7 also with us, the loss, horror and harrowing reality is all too raw.

The global geo political minefield is no mill pond but nor is it something to sensationalise.  I remember listening to Krell Nordstrom speak earlier this year when he shared with the audience that there are fewer people killed in war and terrorism now than there has ever been in history. It gave me pause.

…The path less travelled makes for an ideal destination of choice…

What exists as a result of so many influential parallels ( the perception of safety when travelling, the strength of the pound, the weakness of the Russian Ruble, the uncertainty within Europe) is a dramatically shifting landscape that influences the ‘passport vote’ for both business and pleasure trips.  The convergence this presents must be flexed and built upon, to advantage, country to country, business to business.

I’ve just returned from a trip to Lithuania where I spent time in Druskininkai and Vilnius. A great example of a destination with so many opportunities to position to their benefit.  A large % of tourists were Russian, this has dropped significantly (similarly to many countries) by the downward spiral of the Russian Ruble.  This, an all too familiar story that is devastating for those businesses where Russian clients were the largest nationality – a new look at business strategy and a harsh lesson in putting ‘all your eggs in one basket’ for some businesses. The saving grace is coming from a much broadened  business base but also, playing to the strengths of consumer perception of where is ‘safe’ to visit, the strength of feeder market currencies and the digital foghorn of cultural asset that I find so often to be under used and undervalued.

Whilst I feel frustrated with some of the media reporting around which country is ‘ok’ and where is not deemed secure to be travelling to, I also see the opportunities for countries often not deemed as a typical tourist destination. We have, I think, a responsibility toward our industry, not to bow to the scaremongering and uneasiness. The potential for risk is clearly real BUT measured perspective is also needed.

The path less travelled makes for an ideal destination of choice and Lithuania is a great example to share;

  • They have a burgeoning number of integrative health spas and wellness facilities for the full spectrum of health and wellbeing needs.
  • The value for money aspect is spectacularly good. Normally very affordable but with the strength of the £ against the €, enormous bang for your buck.
  • It is ‘super safe’, no risks, perceived or otherwise.
  • They have acres of unspoilt and stunning natural surroundings, lakes, forests, rivers and reputably, the cleanest air in Europe.
  • The wellness anchored signatures of Lithuania are their natural mineral waters, Mineral muds and amber. A stone that naturally reduces inflammation and is used in abundance to assist therapeutic experience and impact.

Lithuania are not alone in their ability to position in this way, several countries could lean to similar advantage.

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Anni is the founder and CEO of Anni Hood, Wellness Business Consultancy, an international advisory firm working with both public and private sector organisations who seek advice and global expertise in the rapidly evolving sector of spa, health, wellness and wellness tourism. Widely recognised as a leading wellness business specialist, Anni advises and supports public organisations, private businesses and individuals to achieve optimal results within the realm of health and wellness. Her work anchors in conceptual development, brand creation, integration and enablement of services, strategic and operational design, operational delivery, programming and re positioning. In addition, Anni leads wellness tourism for the Global Wellness Institute and is the founder and visionary behind K.I.S Lifestyle ® – an online wellness community that enables affordable and accessible integrative health expertise through a range of assessment tools, programming support and coaching options. Her career history has carved out a unique appreciation of multi sector wellness offerings. Anni’s experience has been in hotels, spas and restaurants, inclusive leisure resorts and high end global brands such as the Jumeirah Group, The Sanctuary, Meadowood and Clinique La Prairie. You can find her at

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